More of us are working in a gig economy, where creativity is valued but job stability is rare. In The Hustle Economy, 25 creative people provide advice on how to survive and succeed. They come from various walks of life, though it is definitely a US-centric perspective. I did not agree with all the writers, but there is definitely something to learn for anyone. Overall, the essays get you to think and add perspectives you may not have considered. I would recommend this book for anyone considering going out on their own as a writer, artist, creator, or entrepreneur. The sub-title is “transforming your creativity into a career”, which aptly describes the book.
For me, the best part of the book are Jessica Hagy’s illustrations, based on her well known index card style from ThisIsIndexed. I would suggest that Jessica take some of her drawings from this book and create a business card series for all those hustlers of the new economy, as Hugh MacLeod has done at Moo.com with inspiration by gapingvoid.
From The Hustle Economy:
“You can’t take one popular thing you make and ride it to success. You have to double your efforts and keep making cool things.” – Ben Grelle, (aka, the frogman)
“Fear can be an indicator of when you need to push yourself harder. When were you last afraid / uncomfortable? Not recently? Well then, are you really growing as an artist?” – Farah Khalid, film editor
“A growing portfolio of work, even imperfect work, is a hundred times more valuable than a ‘proven’ strategy and 100,000 followers.” – Asha Dornfest, founder of Parent Hacks
“Working is easy, it’s playing that’s hard.” – Monica Guzmán, columnist & Neiman Fellow
“Do I feel important as an artist? Sometimes. Do I feel like I am failing? Always. Do I feel like I should be doing something else with my life? Well, actually, no.” – Josephine Decker, film editor & performance artist
“You can’t be precious about your work. You can’t cling to a novel that no editor wants. Throw it away. Write another one.” – Jessica Hagy, artist & writer
While there is a lot here for readers from different backgrounds and with varying experiences, for me, Donna Salgado provides the best advice for the emerging realities of the network era.
“For artistic thinkers and creatives, the modern hustle is more rigorous than ever before, mostly for three main reasons: the rise of amateurism (not necessarily a bad thing), the demands of social media (again, not necessarily bad), and the ability to get your work out there in a variety of avenues (a very good thing). This has created a bit of a shift in our culture, highlighting, ever so slightly, more indie artists who have normally been in the shadows of bigger organizations. In other words, there is more work out there but you need to shine and, more importantly, you need to work to get noticed.” – Donna Salgado, dance artist